News of the Day: 2 May 2021

RFE/RL: More than 80 Russian journalists, writers, historians, and translators have issued an open letter in support of prominent defense attorney Ivan Pavlov, who was detained in Moscow on April 30 and accused of disclosing classified information about the ongoing investigation of former journalist Ivan Safronov. “The persecution of Ivan Pavlov and the seizure of confidential case files is an act of terror directed not only at Pavlov but at the entire law community and an attempt to drive Pavlov out of the Ivan Safronov case,” the open letter published on May 2 said. The signatories of the letter represent the Moscow PEN Club and the Free Speech Association. Pavlov, 50, is one of Russia’s leading human rights lawyers and the head of the legal-aid foundation Team 29. Law enforcement officers searched the Team 29 office in St. Petersburg, the home of the group’s IT specialist, and the apartment of Pavlov’s wife.

RFE/RL: A Russian LGBT activist and artist has declared a hunger strike to protest the proceedings of her closed-door trial on pornography charges. Yulia Tsvetkova’s trial began on April 12 after a nearly 1 1/2-year investigation, during which time she has been fined for spreading LGBT “propaganda” and put under house arrest in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia’s Far East. Tsvetkova, 27, is charged with producing and distributing pornographic material for administering a page on social media called The Vagina Monologues showing abstract art of female genitalia. The artist, an activist who draws women’s bodies, is known for her advocacy of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues.

The Moscow Times: In December 2019, police officers came to Ruslan Shaveddinov’s Moscow apartment, sawed through the door and placed him in handcuffs before whisking him away for forced military service in the Arctic. Denied access to a cell phone — a rule violation, according to the 25-year-old opposition activist — he had to correspond with his loved ones via handwritten letters that took weeks to arrive. “They sent me as far away as possible,” the ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny told AFP.

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